Ask Appoutdoors: Answers

ask-appoutdoors copyby Jacob Gordon.  

We received several questions via comments on the blogs and email, and we’re excited to answer some of your questions here. We’d love to keep this going — perhaps a monthly column — but we’ll need your questions. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email ([email protected]), comment on this blog, or post to our Facebook page.

  1. I’ve always wondered, what’s so great about wool? Isn’t it itchy? What am I missing? (Nick — blog)
  2. merino
    Really great question, Nick, and it’s certainly one we answer on a day-to-day basis. You’re right in thinking wool can be itchy. In fact, when most of us think of wool it’s usually those awful looking Christmas sweaters we were forced to wear as kids. They were rough, heavy, and as soon as they were on, we couldn’t help but scratch.Garments made from Merino wool are nothing like those Yuletide sweaters. They’re super soft to the touch and itch resistant. This has a lot to do with the quality and fineness of the Merino wool fabric. A finer thread means a smoother feel against icebreakerthe skin, limiting any irritation.What’s nice about Merino is its versatility. The same fabric can be used for all sorts of layers — from base layers to outer layers; it all depends on the micron level. The lower the micron, the finer and lighter the fiber. Lower micron fabrics work great as base layers since they’re lighter in weight and have better breathability, while higher microns are heavier pieces, best for mid or outerwear. For easy reference, 17.5-18.5 microns are ideal for base layers, while 21-24.5 microns are ideal for mid and outer layers.The best part of Merino? It’s super easy to care and wash, and it’s completely odor resistant and can stand up to weeks without washing, making it a perfect fabric for week-long adventures.


  3. Can you recommend a good trail guide to the Allegheny Front Trail? I have heard from a few different sources (personal friends and online reviews) that the trail markers are very confusing. Looking to do a few days on the trail in the autumn and wanted to get the best info possible. (Tyler — blog)
  4. The trail markers can certainly be a bit hard to see and follow, but I’ve got a few answers for you Tyler, all coming from our in-house staff.

    maltiMalti McKinnon used for her trek along the West Loop of the AFT. The website has some great details for hiking the East and West loops, but it’s not all inclusive in regards to all the AFT has to offer. However, they do have some nice tips and suggestions for trekking out there as far as equipment, water and food are concerned.

    gantzDave Gantz  suggested using Ben Cramer’s Guide to the Allegheny Front Trail. Ben is currently working on a print copy of his guide, but you can find a digital version here.Gantz also suggested giving the Moshannon State Forest park a call at 814-765-0821. They offer free print maps, so you just need to provide your address to get those sent your way.

  5. Why does my running top come with thumb holes? I never use them. Should I? (Gianna — email)

impulseFor running tops like yours, those thumb loops can be used during chilly fall/spring workouts when you want some warmth for your hands without the need for gloves. For more intense workouts or when using pieces for layering, you can use the thumb holes to help prevent your sleeves from riding up. Give those thumb holes a try! You might find them to be one of the most useful features of your running tops, especially as the temps start dropping around town.

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